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Important Questions

Why do students cheat?
What are the barriers to promoting academic integrity?
What are the ethics of plagiarism detection?
Why do international students plagiarize?

Teaching Resources

General suggestions for increasing learning and decreasing dishonesty
Preventing dishonesty in written assignments
Preventing cheating on tests and exams
Preventing visual plagiarism
Promoting integrity in online courses

Contact

Brenda Stoesz, PhD
Faculty Specialist - Academic Integrity
(204) 474-6958
brenda.stoesz@umanitoba.ca

You may also wish to visit these relevant UM sites:

Academic Integrity
Student Advocacy
Copyright Solutions

General Suggestions for Increasing Learning and Decreasing Dishonesty

Academic Integrity and Teaching

  1. Give your students an opportunity to discuss academic integrity in your course or other learning environments and why this issue is important at the University of Manitoba1 and to the larger academic community. Allow students the opportunity to reframe the discussion in a way that will allow them to incorporate academic ethics into their studies.

  2. State the academic integrity policy on your syllabus. Below, you will find examples of statements you may use on your course outlines. Check with your faculty, school, or department for statements that have been tailored for courses in your teaching area.

  3. State your expectations clearly. Students are less likely to cheat in courses with clear expectations2. Discuss how the University of Manitoba's definition of academic integrity and the types of dishonesty apply to the assignments in your course.

  4. Ask students to read and sign a contract stating that they have read and understand the Student Discipline Bylaw1. Click on the links below to find examples of such contracts.

  5. Establish a personal connection with your students. Students are less likely to cheat when they have a positive connection with you3, p. 47.

  6. Be explicit about possible sanctions, including failure on the essay, failure in the course, suspension or expulsion. Note that even unintentional plagiarism will result in sanctions. For more information on Academic Integrity Policies and Procedures, please visit the University of Manitoba's Academic Integrity website at umanitoba.ca/academicintegrity.

  7. Be as clear as possible in your explanations of various concepts during your lessons. Weimer provides direction on how and why this is important in her recent Faculty Focus article. Click here to learn more.

Academic Integrity and Assessment

  1. Provide frequent, low stakes assignments, tests, and/or exams. Reduced risk of academic failure reduces the risk that students will cheat4. Courses that grade on the curve and/or are necessary for entrance to a professional program have higher instances of cheating because students view grades as more essential than opportunities for learning. When the consequence for a poor outcome is high, the likelihood of dishonest behaviour increases.3,5 In some cases, the addition of too many (e.g., daily or weekly) formal assessments is not reasonable because this unnecessarily increases your workload and the workload of your students. Only add additional assessments that make sense for your teaching and learning situation.

  2. Make sure assessment is valid and reasonable. High course-load demands3 combined with many students' limited academic self-efficacy4 contribute to cheating. First-year students who are learning new academic skills along with new content may be tempted to cheat if they determine that the expectations are unrealistic3. Students may also rationalize cheating if their understanding is that the instructor's intention is to fail as many students as possible.3, p. 51

  3. Incorporate questions or problems related to academic integrity in your assignments and tests.

  4. Provide access to course materials. An easy way to do this is through UM Learn. UM Learn is a learning management system that provides a framework for all aspects of the learning process. This tool is useful for delivering course materials for on-campus and online courses.

  5. Experiment. Use a variety of assessment methods (e.g., quizzes, online discussions, presentations). Check out this list of ideas:
    • Consider designing a problem-based learning (PBL) assignment. Genareo and Lyons (2015) describe six steps for planning and preparing assessments that fit the PBL approach. Click here to read about this approach and to find links to other valuable resources (sample problems, rubrics, etc.) around PBL.
    • Ayelet Haimson Lushkov, an assistant professor of classics at the University of Texas, asked her students to give presentations. Her students experimented with various presentations styles in order to generate meaningful discussion and promote learning. Read about her experience here.

  6. Invite a Reference Librarian from the University of Manitoba Libraries or a specialist from the Academic Learning Centre to give a presentation on working with sources. The Academic Learning Centre has also prepared several handouts that are available for download that university teachers may print and distribute to their students.

References

  1. Context, I. Best Practice Strategies to Promote Academic Integrity in Online Education 1. Wcet (2009).
  2. Brent, E. & Atkisson, C. Accounting for Cheating: An Evolving Theory and Emergent Themes. Res. High. Educ. 52, 640–658 (2011).
  3. Whitley, B. E. J. & Keith-Spiegel, P. Academic Dishonesty: An Educator’s Guide. (Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 2002).
  4. Lang, J. M. Cheating Lessons: Learning from Academic Dishonesty. (Harvard University Press, 2013).
  5. Falk, A. & Szech, N. Morals and markets. Science 340, 707–11 (2013).